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12 questions to ask college career services

(MoneyWatch) Once your child is in college, does he or she have an exit strategy for getting a job?

Many don't. The focus for millions of students is on getting into a good school and then declaring a major, but that won't magically produce job offers. 

While many parents help their children with college admissions, far fewer help them land their first job, according to a new national survey commissioned by More Than a Resume. According to the survey, 71 percent of parents were involved or highly involved with their child's admission process, but only 40 percent helped in the search for a first job.

In the survey, 95 percent of parents agreed that looking for an initial job today is very different from their own experience. Seventy-three percent of parents said they have neither the knowledge nor contacts to help their child find employment.

Many parents assume that the career services office at their child's college will provide advice on the job hunt, but the majority in the survey had become disillusioned.

Among parents who took part in their child's job search, 64 percent disagreed with the statement "My child's college has excellent career service resources."

Any school is going to insist that its career services are awesome, but families need to do their own research, advises Jane Horowitz, the founder of More Than a Resume

Horowitz suggests that students and parents ask these questions:

1. How is the career services center funded, and what does it spend per student?
2. Is that an increase or decrease from previous years?
3. What programs does it offer?
4. How will these programs help my child find his/her first professional job?
5. How does the career service center engage students?
6. Who works directly with students?
7. Will there be a professional or a student peer to offer guidance throughout the process?
8. What value does the school place on internships?
9. How does it assist students in finding meaningful internships?
10. What is the school's job placement record?
11. Are students graduating with job offers and, if so, in which fields and careers?
12. What support does the school offer to liberal arts and humanities students or those without a well-defined career path?

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